What Will It Be Like?



Dr. John Hoole – November 30, 2014



There have been many – probably thousands – who have tried to predict the end of the world as we know it --- both from a religious and non-religious point of view.  On the secular side, Carl Sagan, a well-known scientists, stated that if the nations were to use even a fraction of their nuclear capacity, there is little question that our global civilization would be destroyed……and there seems to be a real possibility of the extinction of the human species.”


On the religious side, 25 years ago, I was given a copy of a pamphlet called: “87 Reasons why Jesus Christ will come in 1987”  Since it didn’t happen as the writer depicted, he wrote another, called: “88 reason why the Rapture will be in 1988.”  You would have thought he would have learned his lesson.


World history has never been kind to those who claim to know the future.  But amidst the wreckage of failed forecasts stands one notable exception.  The Bible !!


The very fact that the Bible contains predictive prophecies makes it a unique book.  No book of any other major world religion can make such a claim.  And history has consistently taken the stand as a reliable and authentic witness to the accuracy of Bible prophecies.


Isaiah shows us why God considers prophecy to be very important.  He tells us how prophecy demonstrates the uniqueness of God and how, because of already fulfilled prophecy, there is none like Him.


Let’s look at three Passages in the Book of Isaiah.  Isaiah is one of several Old Testament prophets who tell us the importance of predictive prophecy.


Isaiah 46:9-10 NIV


9       Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.

10     I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.


Isaiah 42:9 NIV


9       See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you."


Isaiah 48:5 NIV


5       Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, `My idols did them; my wooden image and metal god ordained them.'


The Scriptures we just read tell us that God is unique in that He alone knows the end from the beginning.  He says, in effect:  “You have seen things come to pass as I had told you beforehand.  This proves that I am God.”


Then He goes on to tell us that, because former things have come to pass as He had said, then we should also believe Him when He tells us things about the future which are yet to come to pass.  We can trust biblical prophecies which are yet unfulfilled because of God’s past track record.


In my opinion, already fulfilled prophecy is quite possibly the greatest internal evidence of the divine inspiration of the Bible.  You just don’t see these kinds of prediction in the writings of other major world religions.


It is my opinion – and I don’t think that I am going out of a limb here, the Bible is the only reliable source for information about the end of the world.  The focus of our attention today will be Heaven.


Recent polls suggest that nearly 80% of all Americans believe there is a place called heaven.  I find that statistic to be encouraging because it tells me that even in this skeptical age there is something deep inside the human heart that cries out, “There’s got to be something more.  Something more than the pain and suffering of this life.  Something more than 70 or 80 years on planet earth.  Something more than be born, living, dying and then buried in the ground.


There is another fascinating statistic I should mention.  Not only do most Americans believe in heaven, most people expect to go there when the die.  If you would ask random people on a street corner, “do you think you will go to heaven when you die,” the vast majority would answer, “I hope so,” or “I think so,” or perhaps “I think I’ve got a good chance.  Maybe some would say, “I don’t believe in either heaven or hell.”  Many people today spend little or no time thinking about the hereafter.  The prevailing attitude today seems to be “heaven can wait.” But this is not the picture the Bible paints about what our attitude toward heaven should be.  God’s Word implores us to….”set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”  (Colossians 3:2)


The original Greek of this passage is intense.  “Diligently, actively, single-mindedly pursue the things above.”  It is also in the present tense, carrying the idea, “perpetually keep on seeking the things above.”  “Make this an ongoing process.”  I believe that putting this passage into practice can make all the difference in how we live our lives on this earth.


Heaven is a place where most people want to reside at the conclusion of their present life.  And most folks assume they will be in heaven.  And yet, it is a remarkable fact that so few people know anything about heaven.  And even fewer plan for the trip there.


I can remember our trip to Europe nearly two decades ago.  We looked at travel ads.  We subscribed to videos of places we wanted to visit.  We obtained our passports.  We exchanged our currency before leaving.  We studied the weather to indicate the clothing we should take.  Our daughter, who was living in Europe at the time, sent us a detailed street and subway map of Munich, where she lived.  We planned the trip, attending to the details with excitement.


The Bible really does tell us a great deal about Heaven.  The words “heaven,” “heavens,” and “heavenly” occur over 700 times in the Bible.  So we really aren’t left in the dark about this place.


I have read some books where the author claims the Bible says very little about Heaven.  Personally, I don’t understand that kind of statement.  Last week I listed some 20 questions People ask about Heaven and did so simply because the Bible answers every one of them.


Although the Bible discusses heaven, it is not possible to understand the full nature of it from a human perspective.  We cannot imagine, nor can we experience in our current bodies, what the extra dimensions of heaven might be like.  Even so, we are given enough information in the Bible to understand many of the things that will be different in heaven compared to our lives today.


I want to ask you a question.




What will heaven be like?  Here are some facts about heaven.  It is:


•  God’s dwelling place (Psalm 33:13).


•  Where Christ is today (Acts 1:11).


•  Where Christians go when they die (Philippians 1:21-23).


•  The Father’s house (John 14:2).


•  A city designed and built by God  (Hebrews 11:10).


•  A better country (Hebrews 11:16).


•  Paradise (Luke 23:43).


Most of us have heard that heaven is a place where the streets are paved with gold, the gates are made of pearl, and the walls made of precious jewels.  Those images come from Revelation 21, which offers us the most extended picture of heaven.  If you ask me if I believe those things are literally true, the answer is yes and no.  Yes, they are literally true, but no, heaven won’t be anything like we imagine.  It will be much greater.


So, one of the ways we learn about Heaven is to see what the Bible says will be there.  On the other hand, we also learn about Heaven through what the Bible says will NOT be there.  There are many things that we are used to on earth that will not be found in Heaven.




We can begin our list with those which are mentioned in Revelation 21.

Verse 4:              •  No tears

                            •  No death

                            •  No mourning

                            •  No crying

                            •  No pain


Verse 8:              •  The cowardly

                           •  The unbelieving

                           •  The vile

                           •  The murderers

                           •  The sexually immoral

                           •  The sorcerers

                           •  The idolaters

                           •  All liars


Verse 23:           •  No sun

                           •  No moon


Verse 27:           •  Nothing unclean

                           •  None who practice abomination

                           •  None who makes a lie

I think it is safe to say that the following will also not be in heaven.


•  Jails

•  Drug stores

•  Locks on houses

•  Cemeteries

•  Funerals

•  Famines

•  Suffering

          •  Disease

          •  Crime

          •  Lust

          •  Greed

          •  Racism

          •  Sexism

          •  Terrorism

          •  Chauvinism

          •  War

          •  No rumors of war

          •  Pollution

          •  Greedy Politicians

          •  Drug pushers

          •  Child molesters

          •  Road potholes

          •  Power outages

          •  Earthquakes

          •  Floods

          •  False Christs


There will be:

         •  No regrets

         •  No bitterness

         •  No remorse

         •  No eyeglasses

         •  No braces

         •  No wheelchairs

         •  No false teeth

         •  No hearing aids

         •  No crutches

         •  No hospitals

         •  No nursing homes

         •  No paramedics

         •  No CPR

         •  No aspirin

         •  No cancer

         •  No solicitors

         •  No e-mail viruses

All the wrongs in the world will be made right.


         It will be a place where everything evil is absent…..and everything good is present.


         Everything sad will be gone,……and only joy will exist.


         Everything disappointing will disappear….and everything exciting will appear.


         Everything depressing will be gone,….and everything hopeful will come.


         Everything violent and hateful will be gone….and everything born of love will prevail.


         Everything detestable will be gone,…..and everything desirable will abide with us.


         Every sickness will be gone,…..and complete wholeness will take over our lives.


         Every frustration, struggle and failure will be over,…..and only success is possible.




I was reading a sermon preached by Randy Alcorn.  In the sermon, he mentions a pastor who made a startling confession to Randy.  He said, “Whenever I think about heaven, it makes me depressed.  I’d rather just cease to exist when I die.”


Randy says he tried not to show his shock, and asked him “Why?”  The pastor said, “I can’t stand the thought of that endless tedium.  To float around in the clouds with nothing to do but strum a harp……it’s all so terribly boring.  Heaven doesn’t sound much better than hell.  I’d rather be annihilated than spend eternity in a place like that.”


Where did this Bible-believing, seminary-educated pastor get such a view of heaven?  Certainly not from Scripture, where Paul said to depart and be with Christ was “far better”  than staying on earth.


Before we consider what we will be doing in heaven, I believe it is important to see at least a little bit of what we won’t be doing in Heaven.  Heaven is really going to be great.


•  We will never sin

•  We will make no mistakes

•  We will never need to confess

•  We will never need to repair anything:

•  We will never have to rescue others

•  We will never have to defend ourselves.

•  We won’t be required to apologize.

•  We will not experience guilt, ever.

•  Never again will we battle Satan, or the flesh.

•  We will never defend the gospel of Jesus Christ.

•  Our bodies will never need healing or rehabilitation.

•  We will never experience loneliness or depression.


On the other side of this issue, as to what we are going to be doing in heaven, the Bible does not leave us in the dark.  Heaven is not going to be a boring place, where we sit on clouds and strum our harps without anything else to do.  Life in Heaven is going to be filled with much activity.


I want to give you five things the Bible definitely says we will be doing in Heaven.  But I am sure that there will be much more activity heaven than is represented by this short list.


                   1.      Singing – Worshiping   (Revelation 15:2-3)


                   2.      Serving    (Revelation 22:3)


                   3.      Supervising – Reigning   (Revelation 22:5)


                   4.      Studying – Learning   (1 Corinthians 13:12)


                   5.      Sharing – Fellowshipping   (Revelation 21:3)


Listen to this Passage from the gospel of Matthew.


Matthew 8:11  (NIV)


11     I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.


Jesus pictures the righteous as reclining at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  If you were to make up a list of the people you would want at your table at the great banquet in Heaven, most of us undoubtedly would put Jesus at the top of the list.  Heaven means enjoying the eternal company of the greatest and best people who ever lived.


Imagine the conversations.  If you relish stimulating conversation being around truly good and wonderful people, hearing exciting and intriguing stories, then you will enjoy heaven.


Just imagine hearing every detail of what happened in Egypt and the wilderness, from Moses himself.  How about learning the entire life of Adam and Eve.  And what about learning the Hebrew music that was set to the songs of David.


1 Kings 4:32 says that Solomon wrong 1,005 songs.  Are you intrigued to know what they sound like.


The last verse of the gospel of John – John 21:25 – says:


25     Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.


                   I would like to learn of all the things Jesus did that were not mentioned in the Bible.


The writer of the book of Hebrews lists, in chapter 11, a number of people that are going to be in Heaven.  They give us a good look at the kind of people we are going to fellowship with in Heaven.  Hebrews 11:38 tells us they were people “of whom the world was not worthy.”


Earlier, I briefly mentioned some of the things we will do in heaven, and we saw that we will serve the Lord.  It may surprise you to learn that the Scriptures contains no mention of believers serving each other in Heaven.


A moment ago, we read Matthew 8:11, where we will recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Have you ever wondered who is doing the serving at this feast?  Luke 12:37 gives us the answer.  It says that when He comes back for us, He “will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.”  Now think about this.  Jesus, as the perfect Bridegroom, will wait on his beloved bride.  And He will meet our needs forever.


This passage speaks specifically about sitting at a feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  But, one of the great joys of eternity will be the great reunion with our long departed friends and family who have passed on before us to wait for us in the eternal city.


Do you have some people you want to meet or places you want to visit or scenes you want to see?


         •  I want to watch God’s reaction to our praise and worship.


         •  I want to meet the miscarried babies my mother had – they are my siblings.


Not only are there going to be many family reunions, but we will also meet people we have never met.  Some of them we have heard about – some will be new to us.  But, even then, they won’t feel like strangers.


Our family will now include the redeemed of all ages, from Adam onwards.  We will meet Old Testament believers, New Testament saints, and great Christians from church history.


Are there people in the Bible you would like to talk with and ask them a few things?  I know there are Bible characters that I would like to question.


•  Talk with “my” angel about all the “near misses” while he was watching over me.


•  How exciting it will be to ask Adam about the first Paradise.

•  Noah, tell me about the great flood and how did you keep the ark clean.


•  What a pleasure it will be as we listen to David sing his Psalms to their original tunes.


•  Job, how were you able to have such a quiet confidence in God to say: ”Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.


•  Peter, what did your wife think about your quitting the business to follow Jesus?  Peter’s mother-in-law is mentioned in Matthew 8:14.


•  Ask Peter’s wife what it was like being the wife of a Disciple.


•  Moses, what did manna really taste like?


•  Ask Moses’ mother to share her feelings when she launched her baby into the river.


•  Ask Solomon how he kept track of all his wives and concubines.


•  Abraham, did you see the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah from where you were?


•  Jeremiah, as a teenage prophet, how hard was it to get people to listen to you?


•  James, how difficult was it to grow up as the brother of Jesus?


•  Philip, how did it feel to be in one place baptizing a Eunuch, and the next moment in an entirely different place?


•  John the Baptist, what does locust taste like?


Yes, we will see and recognize our friends and family members.  I don’t think there is any doubt of that.  And yet, personally, neither my father, or Bible character, or the great saints of the ages, hold top priority in my desire for fellowship in the New Jerusalem.


I long to see Jesus!  It is He who took my place on the cross.  He died the death which I deserved.  He alone delivered me from sin – and purchased my salvation.  And now, He has chosen to live with me forever.  He is the One who made Heaven possible.


D. L. Moody (1837-1899) penned these words:


         The light of heaven is the face of Jesus

         The joy of heaven is the presence of Jesus

         The melody of heaven is the name of Jesus

         The harmony of heaven is the praise of Jesus

         The theme of heaven is the work of Jesus

         The employment of heaven is the service of Jesus

         The duration of heaven is the eternity of Jesus

         The fullness of heaven is Jesus Himself!


Dwight L. Moody also spoke these words

“Someday you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield, is dead. Don't you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal - a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body.”
 "I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever.”


Although I have not seen Him, I love Him.  He has become the theme of my song, the expression of my confession, the joy of my life, the basis of my blessings, and the foundation of my hope of heaven.


Most importantly, Christ is going to be there with us in heaven, in the holy city.  He is now in heaven with the Father, but one day He will come and get us and take us away to those heavenly mansions.


Revelation 21:3-4 NKJV


3       And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

4       And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."


What is going to make heaven so delightful?  It won’t be the pearly gates.  It won’t be the jasper walls.  It won’t be the golden streets.


It will be that we shall behold the King in all His beauty and see His face.  Our relationship with Christ will be an intimate one.  God’s house will be a happy home because Christ is there.  He will be the center of attention in heaven.


The era of God and man walking and talking together in Paradise’s garden was lost through Adam’s fall.  But it will be restored again, and God’s original purpose of creation will be realized and much more.  Fellowship between Creator and creature with complete understanding.


Now we only sing about it: “Face to face I shall behold Him”  “And He walks with me, and He talks with me”  “And I shall see him face to face”  But, in heaven we will experience it, and much more.